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Civil War Letters of

John Hughes

November, 1862

Contributed by Tom Caulley

Little Pina, Mo.
Nov. 3rd, 1862

My Dear wife and Children I take this oppertunity to drop you a few lines to let you know that I am well and I hope this may find you and the children all enjoying the same blessing.

The time has come when I must bid you fare­well. It is with deepest sorrow that I have to inform you that I am gone and still expect to have to go further. We left Salem sunday morning very unexpectedly. I didn't have time to write before I left there and if Van Balf and Lovel Bryant (Bryan)had not overtaken us this evening I do not know when I would have got to wrote as there is no such thing as a mail route in this part of the country.

I received your letter of the 28th and was very glad to hear from you but was very sorry indeed to hear you was sick again. I had been looking for you for several days to come and see me but I looked in vain but it will be useless for me to look anymore or for you to look for me as I am going right away from home and don't know how far we are going.

It is also useless for me to try to write my feelings. You can guess that if I could see you and my dear little children once more but there is no possible chance for that. I want you not to greive over this for it can't be helped.

I am in the hospital department and will not have any fighting to do nor anything to carry while on march and can travel as I please and get the best to eat. that is going. Do not greive for me but take care of yourself and the Lord will take care of me. May the Lord God bless you all. Please continue to write and I will write when I can. Farewell, farewell, dear friends, farewell.

John C. Hughes
to Hariett

Houston, Mo.
Nov. 6st 1862

Dear Wife It is with pleasure I set down to write you afew line to let you know that I am still in the land of the living and in good health. I have had better health for the last month than I have had since last winter. I hope this may find you and the children all well and enjoying all the blessings of home and society. (I) wish I could be at home with you once more it would do me more good than anything except getting to a better world than this. but I am sorry to inform you that all hope of me getting home or getting to see you soon is blasted. I donnot know whether I will get home til the war is over or not. We are at Houston in Texas County and will stay here afew days til the train of wagons cmes up and then we will go from here to Dixie. Perhaps we will go from here to Arkansas.

I had no time to write before w left Salem. We received orders one even1ng to march the next morning at seven o'clock. I had just started a letter that morning by Thompson Hutchens. I also sent my likeness by him. I wrote for you to come and see me but I got a letter that night and to my sorrow learned that you was sick again. I had been looking for you for several days to come and see me, but I looked in vain. I was afraid you would come after we had left but Lovel Bryant and Van Ralf overtook us the second day after we left Salem and I sent you afew lines by them. I also sent you my pipe by Lovel Bryant and if I could I would send you myself this time but that is out of my power without deserting which I will not do if I rot in the army. I only want to live for the credit and welfare of my family and the good of our country.

I now belong to the hospital department and expect to continue there. I fair much better than when I was with the regement. I get better grub and am not exposed to the weather. I always have one of the best houses to stay in and when we are on the march I do not have anything to cary like the rest of the men and travel like I please. while the rest of the regement has to march in ranks and cary their guns and napsacks or hire a team to haul them. And if there is any fighting I will not be in it. That is all that frets me. George Bryand (Bryan) is one of my partners and if anything happens to me he will let you know.

I am getting $20.50 a month. we was mustered for pay day before yesterday bu I do not know when the paymaster will come to pay us off. Wish he would come before we leave here so that I could send you some money. I am afraid that we will get so far away that I can' t send you any and you will suffer for the want of it. But if I can't I can't and you will have to do the best you can. May the Lord help you.

I have just received Mary (Campbell)'s letter of the 27th since I commenced writing. Tell Mary I have not time nor oppertunity to answer her letter but am very glad to hear from her and will write to her when I can. I got your letter of the 29th 2 days later before we left Salem. I have received 17 letters from you and 4 from the girls. You have no idea howmuch good it does me to get a letter from any of you. Tell the girls to writ as often as they can and do the same yourself. Perhaps your letters may follow us.

There is not any rebels of any force anywhere near here. If we have any fighting to do we will have to go and hunt them. I think they are very scarce in Missouri at this time. I think their days are but £ew. I hope so at least but you know more about what is going on than I do. We hardly ever see a papere.

It is now after 10 o'clock at night and I have 4 sick man to attend to and perhaps I have forgot something I wanted to write. If have I will put it in in the morning. I am upstairs in the academy in Houston with a good stove to set by while the rest of the men in the regement are in thir tents exposed to the cold wind that is whistling against the north of the house. I have not stood guard since the cold rainy night I stood in Rolla.

I could write all night but it will soon be time for me to go to bed. I would give anything in the world if I could be at home tonight with you and the children. It would be useless for me to try to describe to you my feelings. When I think of having to leave all that is near arn dear to me and be draged about as sold1ers have to be.

Now Hariet let me say to you I know it is a sore trial for me to have to leave you and go where I can neither see nor hear rom you but if I knew that you wouldnot fret and greive after me I would go a great deal better satisfied and I hope and trust you will not fret over what we can't help. If it would do any good I would cry my eyes out but it will not do any good. I want you to take good care of your health and I believe the Lord will take care of me and we will yet live to see each other.

Nov. 7.

I am Still well this morning and hope you are all well also. I have nothing new to write this morning. Everything is quiet. I am too late to get my letter in the mail this morning. I will finish this tonight. Hariet you must be careful of what little property and provissions you have as possible for I do not know when I will get home to provide any more for you. Neither am I certrain that I will get any money to send to you if we leave here before the paymaster comes up. but I will be satisfied with whatever you think best to do with things.

I still think we will all get home between now and Spring. I believe if the authorities does not make peace soon the soldiers will try what they can do and if they begin they will wind things up in a hurry.

Be sure to kill pork a plenty to do you and save corn a plenty to bread you til corn comes. If you have to let some of the stock go. I wish you would not turn any stock in the field at the house. That will hurt the apple trees. Tell Frank that I wish I could be at home to help him feed and make fires this winter. We would take Old Ring and go a coon hunting. Tell Billy that if he was in the army with me he would want to see his maw and the rest as bad as he wants to see his paw. and tell liltle John that his paw will come and bring that hatchet some day as soon as all the secess is killed. Tell the boys that I want to see them all very bad and that I want them to be good boys and mind their maw and learn their books all they can and I will fetch them all something pretty when I come home. May the Lord bless the children.

Now Hariet it is again getting late. I am still well and you know my wish is that I could stay all night with you but I can't tonight. My duty calls me away. Please write to me as often as you can. Perhaps it may be a long time before I get to see you but the time is rolling on when we will either meet on Earth on, in eternity and I want you to live religious. Make that your first business (so we will) be sure to meet in heaven if we never meet on Earth ad try to bring the children up with you. May the Lord bless you and sustain you and keep you from all harm. Amen. Remember you have my prayers. Always pray for me. Give my love to all and receive the same yourself. Kiss the children for me and I will kiss you when I see you. It seems like I cannot stop writing.

I got a ratter from George Hughes the other day. He was well. and they are nine miles from Greenville. He says the woods are full of soldiers and they are still coming.

I have not drawn any more money yet and do not expect to before Cnristmas. I will send my money home as fast as I draw it. If you want any clothing I will writ to Colonel Fisk and try to draw on the merchants bounty. Please write to me how the corn turns out and if the hogs is fat and how the stock looks.

Kiss the children and tell the friends howdy for me. It is useless for me to try to write all I can think. It would tire your patience to read it so I will close hoping to hear from you soon. Give my respect to all enquireing friends and tell them all I am all right side up. Direct your letters as you have done until further notice. So no more remains but your affectionate husband until seperated by death.

John C Hughes
To my dear wife and children Farewell Hariet farewwll children.

I ask and direct you prayers that if we never meet on earth we may all meet in

Hartsville, Mo.
Nov the 17th 1862

Dear Wife and Children It is with pleasure I set down to write you a few lines to let you know that I am still in the land of the living I am tollerably well today and I hope this may find you all well. I have been unwell for a few days. I had the flu but I have got over it and will be alright as soon as I get my strength again. I was not past traveling. I took it the morning after we left Houston but being with the doctor I was soon cured.

I received a letter from you yesterday dated Nov. the 7th with 4 stamps. I was very glad indeed to hear from you and to hear you was all well and getting along as well as you are. I (am) very sorry you had your trip to Salem for nothing. I took several good cries about it but that didn't mend matters a bit. If I had knew 12 hours sooner that we was going to leave I would have saved you of all that trouble. I started my likeness and a letter in the morning that evening we received orders to march the next morning. I was afraid that the trip and dissapointment would lay you up again.

We are camped near Hartsvill in Wright County but I can not tell you what we came here for as I just been informed that we are going back to Houston. I belive if we go to Houston we will go to Salem or Rolla or perhaps St. Louis. I think the gig is about over in the south. General Scofield has come back to Springfield and it is said that 8 thousand of his men are 8 or 10 miles of here. He had to turn back on account of provissions. Their was not provissions enough in Arkansas to feed his little army. And if that be true the rebels will soon come to their apatite. I hope they may all starve to death before Christmas.

I think it is true that we are going back to Houston. I will yet get to see you before long. If I get back in reach of you I will try hard for a furlo and I belive I will get it as I have the good will of the compapy officers. Our Lieutenant you saw in Salem has not come up yet. I have not got the things you left with him. He was ordered to stay there and take care of the sick. But I think I will get them soon.

I am still with the hospital and expect to stay with it. I fare much better than when I was with the company. I get better pay and a plenty of provisions to eat and I am not exposed to the weather like the rest of the men. Neither do I have any cooking to do. 3 good blankets and a plenty of good clothing to wear but all this is not like being at home with you and the children. George Bryand (Bryan) is one of our cooks and you can guess how well our cooking is done. He is as good a cook as any woman.

I want you not to grieve and fret yourself too much about me being gone from home. It is injurious to your health and mind both. All the fretting you do will not mend matters a bit but will make it worse. It hurts my feelings to think how much dissatisfied you are. It makes me think that you belive it is my fault that we are seperated, but the Lord knows if I hadn't thought it was the only safe way I could do I would not (have) have joined the army. I havenot done what I have to cause you trouble for there is not a man in this army that thinks more about their family than I have and have perhaps shed more tears than I have. And one great reason of that is because you are so dissatisfied. I never get a letter from you that I have to go off by myself to read if.

Now Hariet hear one who loves you above everything on this earth. I know it is a sore trial to have to leave everything that is near and dear to us and go forth to endure all the hardships dangers and exposures of a wicked war. I say it is hard to give up our friends to this. yet it seems that this has become our lot and it becomes our duty as Christians to bear it with patience. Therfore let us be resigned to the will of the Lord and all will work out right in the end. I as firmly belive I will get home between now and Spring all safe and sound as I belive I will see tomorrow. I know in whom I trust. I belive that the Lord will take care of me and you also if we will only put our trust in him.

I must now bring my letter to a close. We are pretty certain to start back to Houston tomowrow. I will let you know where we are going as fast I find out myself and if I get anywhere near you and can't get to go and see you, you must come and see me. I want you to write to me as often as you can. And if you are in want for anything I want you to let me knowt and I will try and make some arrangements for you. them stamps you sent come 1n good play for there is no such thing to be had here. I must close for this time. I hape to hear from you soon and to see you if it is the will of the Lord. To my dear and loving wife. God bless you.

John C. Hughes

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